‘The Catcher in the Rye’ published in the year 1951 has since then been in popular demand. J.D Salinger’s controversial and unusually brilliant novel has become a modern classic and a favourite among the adolescents. And it is still growing popular day by day. Although published for adults it has become an interesting read for adolescent readers, for its themes of teenage angst and alienation.
All of us have been teenagers at some point in time and can relate well with the feelings, emotions, anger and isolation we imbibe within us. And many of us still are confused and unsure about life. This novel has had a lasting influence as it remains a bestseller and frequently challenged book. Of course, the USP of the novel is the highly colloquial language used by the protagonist. The slang and the profanity constantly reflect the teenage life and dilemmas that it carries with it.
The storyline involves young people struggling to find their place in the society. Well, many of us feel the same, frequently torn apart between parents, society and our own desires. Salinger through the portrayal of the character of Holden Caulfield gives us a peek into the brain of most teenagers. It is exciting and compelling, along with its brutal reality, marked with humour and contrasted well with bouts of sadness and depression.
Holden Caulfield is absolutely intriguing and Salinger helps us get inside the head of a strange, quirky and rebellious kid. He is frank, confused and clueless about future. Like Holden Caulfield most of the teenagers make constant efforts to escape the realities of life. The path ahead seems blurred and the confusion persists only to conform to isolation and angst.
The reader can relate well with this teenagers dilemma, often laughing out at his humour, and mostly offended by his pursuits of relationships, intimacy and sexuality. Salinger carves out for us the rawness of his emotions and tickles our brains with questions about familial relationships, the society and the individual. Holden Caulfield is the dysfunctional teenager and Salinger with tones of sincerity paints the picture of teenage rebellion, innocence, questions of identity, belonging, loss and connection.
Apart from all this Salinger captures the existential crisis of the protagonist with an accessible conversational style. To those who embrace the novel, recognise Holden as a teenage everyman. Many of us who felt pretty messed up as teenagers will definitely get what the writer wants to portray. Believe that this novel will be truly loved by those who get to the core of it. Its popularity still resonates and the echoes of Holden’s slang are still in the air.
About the Author:
Work in progress. Ambivert. Books are my best friend and writing gives me immense pleasure…
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” – Virginia Woolf